Why is it that the Isralites had less than an hour's notice and they were able to pack up their lives and leave Egypt, but it takes me three weeks to get ready to superficially re-enact the Passover holiday every year?
Granted, they did not live as well as I do. They did not have bedrooms haunted by messy children with way too much stuff. They did not have stoves and refrigerators that had to be moved and cleaned behind (a truly thankless job). They did not host car washes in their driveways in the days leading up to the holiday. And they probably weren't pack rats because they were poor slaves and didn't own very much. I know all of that, but how did the ratio end up at 504:1?
I don't think that's a reasonable exponential of time.
So what am I doing wrong?
I'll tell you what I am doing wrong. I am obsessing over every stupid crumb that may or may not have been bread or one of its derivatives in a previous life. If you can't tell for sure, then you obviously wouldn't eat it by mistake and therefore, it doesn't count.
I also think that I let a lot of things go over the span of the year knowing full well that when Passover arrives it will be my moment of reckoning and I will have no choice but to address the build-up of miscellaneous junk that I have inexplicably acquired during the previous 360 odd days.
That may not have been too difficult to figure out but there are other Passover mysteries.
My neighbour David brought another ridiculous pre-Passover task to my attention this afternoon. A few days prior to the beginning of the holiday, it is each Jew's obligation to "sell" his or her bread and derivatives to a non-Jew. I used quotation marks because although the bread is technically sold, it remains in our houses and -- unless someone comes to get it -- it remains there until we "buy" it back after the holiday.
According to David – and he's a lawyer from Los Angeles so I TRUST him (well, he seems like a nice lawyer and I used to like LA Law) – there is one non-Jew in Israel who buys all the bread products from every Jew selling them. By my calculations, this guy won't need bread for several decades, but in the same breath, I hope he has a warehouse of freezer space. After buying millions of shekels of bread, I would think you'd hate to waste it or let someone else waste it for you.
Since this is all done through rabbis using contracts, technically this one non-Jew should be able to knock on your door and pick up anything bread-like that he wants from your house at any time during the Passover holiday. Technically he owns it all. However, I would like to tell you that that has never happened to me. I suspect it hasn't happened to anyone. I don't even know who this bread-buying non-Jew is. Do you?
All of this leads me to believe that the kernel of truth concerning Passover has long since been lost or mutated beyond recognition. It must have taken rabbis generations to develop such an intricate set of loopholes. No wonder it take us longer today to get ready for Passover than it originally took the slaves. We have altered the holiday beyond their recognition and once you involve lawyers....